Milk of kindness stops flowing

n Breastfeeding rooms in majority of bus terminuses, opened during Jaya's regime, lie in a pathetic condition sans facilities.

Chennai: In August 2015, the then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa announced that bus termini across the state would have breastfeeding rooms to ensure that lactating mothers enjoy privacy while feeding their newborns. Two years down the line and with Jayalalithaa no more, the rooms have turned into witchcraft houses with no facilities, most of them rarely open.

An official from the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) said that breastfeeding rooms were established at 39 termini out of which 32 are maintained by MTC and the other seven by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). Ideally a feeding room must have a baby washer, a bed to dress up, sterilising equipment, a feeding pump and sanitiser. But alcohol bottles and paper cups are all one can see now. The feeding rooms at bus stops that see high patronage including Saidapet, T Nagar, Broadway and Anna square are often locked.

Commuters at the Broadway bus depot allege that miscreants use the feeding room for anti-social activities at night. A passenger said, “If you look through the window, you can see paper cups and polythene strewn. Complaints to authorities did not reap any benefits.”

Though the feeding room at Vadapalani bus depot is open, there is nothing except for a chair amidst shabby walls. “Fearing that the baby will get an infection, most mothers return without feeding their babies. Drinking water available outside the feeding room is murky and impure,” said a conductor at the bus terminus.

Guindy bus terminus, which sees a high patronage due to its connectivity, does not have a feeding room at all and lactating mothers are advised to go to Saidapet, which is always shut.

When contacted, an official from MTC, said, “Anybody who wants to use the feeding room can get the key from the announcers. We had to lock the rooms because dogs barge inside and at times, people from nearby slums vandalise the rooms.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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